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For all of you readers looking for a mixed bag of odd little local treks, December is loaded with eccentric opportunities.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m., you can visit the very spot that Andy Griffith and TV son Opie made so endearingly charming in the TV show’s opening credits. The Sooky Goldman Nature Center in Franklin Canyon will escort you to that revered location – as well as the setting for some scenes in Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night and many other films as well. This is a must-do walk for film buffs as well as hiking enthusiasts. Call (310) 858-7272 for more information.

As long as you’re in the area, on the same day at 5 p.m., there is a “Silent Night Hike.” Reservations are required for this two-hour, speechless event. Without the usual trail chatter, you’ll be amazed at what natural sounds are roaring in the woods.

This next one is supposedly for young children and their parents, but there is a lot of great info presented at the Sooky Goldman Nature Center’s “Preschool” on Wednesday morning, Dec. 7 at 10:15 a.m. You’ll learn more about plants, roots and photosynthesis than you ever did in high school Botany.

For a more serious hiking experience, head-up to the Piuma Road Backbone Trail for an eight-mile, four-hour adventure. Supervised by the Sierra Club on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 9 a.m., you’ll enjoy some hillside gains, ocean views and a solid workout experience. Bring water and lunch! Call (310) 391-5004 for details.

For the really hardy, here’s a chance to get outdoors, learn a trade and do good work all in one six-hour bundle. “Trail Work,” is a no-experience necessary program that will prepare you for good deeds by teaching you how to maintain and repair our local trails. This upcoming adventure is on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8:30 a.m., and will be followed by an on-going schedule that will welcome your donated labor. It’s more fun than it sounds. Call (818) 222-4531 for the full schedule.

Speaking of eclectic, there’re few groups more diversified than our own Monday–Wednesday night hiking troup. We rotate through 21 different hikes all in close proximity to the Westside. No dues, no rules, no anything other than what we discover along the way. Just show-up on time and go.Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes, should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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